How to share a printer

Sharing a printer in Windows Server 2003


Microsoft Windows 2003 Server "Web Edition" may have a problem sharing printers. Check the manufacturer for further details.

  1. Make sure you are in administrator mode (i.e. you must know the administrator's username and password on login). You will need to be the administrator to properly setup the printer for sharing.
  2. Plug the printer into the printer (LPT1) port
  3. Install the printer driver either by launching the Add New Hardware control panel and following the wizard, or launching the printer driver installer file.
  4. Following the "Adding a (network) printer to your PC" below to get the printer ready for printing. Remember to give a Name, Location and Comment for users to be able to identify the printer.
  5. To share the printer on the network for other users on Windows Server 2003, you need to make sure you have certain network components and have set a few group policies for the printer.
  6. As part of your Local Area Connection (LAN) Properties, make sure you have (i) Client for Microsoft networks, (ii) Files and printer sharing for Microsoft networks, and (iii) Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). You will find these network components by clicking on the Start button, choose Settings>Network and then dial-up connections. Right click on Local Area Connection and choose Properties.
  7. For Windows 2003 Server, the policies for the printer are found in Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Printers inside the Administrative Tools control panel.

  8. The first policy of importance is called "Allow printers to be published". By default, new printers you install can be published (i.e. shared) through its Properties window. However, sometimes when you try to share a printer using the Sharing tab, the "List in the directory" option will be unavailable. If you see this, enable the policy.

  9. When you add new printers, you can manually share them by clicking the "List in the directory" checkbox. However, you may wish Windows 2003 Server to automatically share (or publish in the Active Directory) new printers. If you want this option, enable the policy called "Automatically publish new printers in Active Directory".
  10. If you want the ability to automatically prune (or remove/unpublish) shared printers when one or more printers are unavailable and republish them again when they return, enable the policy called "Allow pruning of published printers". The pruning is done every 8 hours. If you want to change pruning interval to a shorter or longer time frame, there is further refinement in this policy via Directory pruning interval and Directory pruning retry.
  11. On the host PC for serving the printer to guest users on the Microsoft network, click on the Start button, choose Settings>Printers, and a list of printers already installed should be available to you. If your policy is not to automatically publish all printers, right click the printer you want to share, choose Properties from the pop-up menu and choose the Sharing tab. Click the checkbox to enable "Share this printer" and give the printer a name of there isn't one already typed in.
  12. Go to the Security tab and check all boxes to make sure everyone has access to everything about the printer. Later you can raise the security level once you have established access to the printer by the guests.
  13. On the client/guest PC, install the same printer driver for the printer you are sharing through the host PC. A printer may appear in the Printer settings window. Don't share this printer.
  14. Right click on My Network Places on the desktop of the client/guest PC. Choose Search for computers. Type the computer name for the host computer. The computer name (and workgroup name) can be found in Start>Settings>Control Panel>System and click on Network Identification. When this computer name appears on the right side of the opened box, right click on the name and choose Open. You will be asked for a name and password. This is the username and password you used when the Windows OS was installed on the client/guest PC. Otherwise type ADMINISTRATOR for username and click the Enter key for password. All the printers and files being shared on the network should be opened.
  15. Finally, on the client/guest PC, click the Start button followed by Settings>Printers and double-click the Add Printer icon. Select "Network printer", click the Next button. Select "Type the printer name or click next to browse for a printer", click the Next button. Some computer names and workgroup names should be shown. Double click on the Host computer name and workgroup name and select the printer, click the Next button. Follow the wizard directions until your finished.

You should be able to print on the shared printer of your host PC.

Sharing a printer in Windows 95/98/Me

Within these Window OS versions, the PC can share the attached printer to network users by sharing the printer driver for the printer you want to share.

  1. Install the printer driver.
  2. Click the Start button and choose Settings>Printers. You should see an icon of the printer attached to your PC.
  3. With the cursor hovering over the printer icon, press the right button on your mouse. Choose the Sharing option.
  4. Click on the appropriate radio button to share the printer.
  5. It is a good idea to describe the printer in the Comment field so people can identify the printer and where it is located. Also give a name for your printer, keeping in mind there is an eight-character limit.
  6. For the really paranoid and scrouges of the IT world, you may wish to set a password for users to access the printer.
  7. Click the OK button.

Your printer is shared.

Sharing a printer in Windows 2000/XP

Sharing a printer is the same as sharing a folder in Windows 2000/XP. You create a folder for the printer and share it to your network users. No printer drivers are necessary for network users.

  1. Click the Start button and choose Settings>Printers and Faxes. You should see an icon of the printer attached to your PC.
  2. With the cursor hovering over the printer icon, press the right button on your mouse. From the pop-up menu, choose Properties.
  3. In the Properties window, click on the Sharing tab.
  4. Click the Additional Drivers button.
  5. Next, we shall select which operating systems you want to support for sharing your printer to your network users. It is likely your users will have different Windows OS.
  6. Also select the other types of drivers needed for your other PCs. Click OK.
  7. When prompted, insert the floppy disk or CD and show where to find the drivers. Windows 2000/XP will download the drivers to your Windows 2000/XP PC.
  8. On your other PCs trying to access the shared printer, install the printer by locating the Windows 2000/XP PC (i.e. the printer server) and choosing the shared printer. Windows 2000/XP will finish the installation by automatically transferring and installing the appropriate printer drivers (see below).

Adding a (network) printer to your PC

  1. Click the Start button, then choose Settings>Printer.

  2. The following window appears:

    Double-click on the Add Printer icon.

  3. The wizard starts up.

    Click the Next button.

  4. To access a shared printer on the network (i.e. not directly connected to the printer port on your PC), click the radio button for Network printer.

  5. Click the Next button.

  6. If you happen to know the exact name of your printer or know the IP address for it, type it in one of the fields shown in the above window. Otherwise browse for the printer by clicking the Next button.
  7. If you are browsing for the printer, it should appear directly below the PC server icon within the Shared Printers browse window. Click on the printer icon once only to highlight it. Click the Next button.
  8. Type in the username and password for the printer if the administrator has set one up on the server. You'll need the administrator to do this for you.
  9. A message will ask if you want the printer to be the default. This means when you print something, information will go directly to this printer. Click the Yes button unless you have another reason to have the printer.
  10. Click the Finish button to complete the wizard.

  11. That's it! The network printer icon you have selected should appear next to the Add Printer icon.

The alternative way of installing the printer:

  1. Double-click on the desktop icon called Network Neighborhood (or My Network Places).

  2. Double-click on the Computers Near Me icon.

  3. Locate the PC server providing the printer service. In other words, find the computer sharing the printer.

  4. Double-click the shared printer. This starts the Add Printer Wizard which will guide you through the process of adding a network printer (see above).